‘Seabed 2030’ a $3bn map project
Scientists pool oceans of data to plot Earth’s final frontier
LONDON, Dec 6, (RTRS): For experts in the field of ocean mapping it is no small irony that we know more about the surfaces of the Moon and Mars than we do about our planet’s sea floor.
“Can you imagine operating on the land without a map, or doing anything without a map?” asked Larry Mayer, director of the US-based Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, a research body that trains hydrographers and develops tools for mapping.
“We depend on having that knowledge of what’s around us – and the same is true for the ocean,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
With their deep craters and mountain ranges, the contours of the earth beneath the waves are both vast and largely unknown.
But a huge mapping effort is underway to change that.
The UN-backed project, called Seabed 2030, is urging countries and companies to pool data to create a map of the entire ocean floor by 2030. The map will be freely available to all.
“We obviously need a lot of cooperation from different parties – individuals as well as private companies,” said Mao Hasebe, project coordinator at the Nippon Foundation, a Japanese philanthropic organization supporting the initiative.
“We think it’s ambitious, but we don’t think it’s impossible,” Hasebe said.
The project, which launched in 2017, is expected to cost about $3 billion. It is a collaboration between
“endangered” to “critically endangered”.
“It’s not too late for the northern bettong, but our window of opportunity for action is closing fast,” he said. (AFP)
Ice melting faster than thought:
Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at a faster rate than previously thought and continued the Nippon Foundation and GEBCO, a non-profit association of experts, which is already involved in charting the ocean floor.
The end result would be greater knowledge of the oceans’ biodiversity, improved understanding of the climate, advanced warning of impending disasters, and the ability to better
global warming will accelerate thawing and contribute to rising sea levels, scientists said in a paper published on Wednesday.
Rising seas threaten low-lying cities, islands and industries worldwide. Forecasts for how high and how soon the rise will come vary greatly, partly because scientists lack clarity on how fast warming oceans are melting polar ice sheets. protect or exploit deep-sea resources, said Hasebe.
So far, the biggest data contributors to Seabed 2030 have been companies – in particular Dutch energy prospector Fugro and deep-sea mapping firm Ocean Infinity. Both were involved in the search for the Malaysian airliner MH370, which disappeared in 2014.
Melting ice in Greenland, home to the second largest mass of ice after Antarctica, is thought to add 0.8 millimetres of water to global ocean levels annually, more than any other region, according to NASA.
In a paper published in the journal Nature, scientists from the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands analyzed melt layers in ice cores in western Greenland to develop a record spanning 350 years.
The magnitude of Greenland ice sheet melting is “exceptional” over at least the last 350 years and continued growth of global average temperature will accelerate the melting and contribute to sea level rise, the study said.
Ice sheet melting began to increase soon after the mid-1800s. Surface melting was the most extensive in 2012 than any time over the past 350 years and the period of 2004-2013 had more sustained and intense melting than any other 10-year period recorded.
“We are seeing levels of Greenland ice melt and runoff that are already unprecedented over recent centuries (and likely millennia) in direct response to warming global temperatures since the pre-Industrial era,” Sarah Das, co-author of the report and scientist at the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said in a statement.
The study showed that although a minor warming event in the past might have had little or no impact on the melting, the same event in a warmer climate in the future could produce a larger melt effect. (RTRS)